As I contemplate the fact that my effort to get fit and lose weight for the summer was an utter failure, I am confronted with two images from earlier this week.
The first is that I saw someone using a Segway human transporter to get to work. I never know what to make of this thing.
It seems to be meant for some sort of short-to-medium distance trip. It has to be a trip too short to want take your car, or load up on anything too heavy on the back like groceries. At the same time, it's got to be a trip that's too long to walk or bike. It's also got to be something where your local municipality is willing to let a two-wheeled, powered vehicle move on the sidewalk; because you're going to break more than 85 year old Mrs. Rossolovich's hip if you accidently plow into her while you're cruising along on this thing. It's almost as if Dean Kamen wants to say to us "no, 3 million years of evolution spent learning how to stand up and walk was wrong; you should be on wheels instead." It seems at once both utterly lazy, and utterly dedicated to the fanatically gadget conscious. Oh yes, it's about $5000.
I contrast this with images from a local PBS re-broadcast of Frontier House. For those unfamiliar with the concept, this is a PBS reality TV show in the "1900 House" mold. In it, three families spend the summer living in Montana as if it was 1883 and struggling to grow, raise, chop, and harvest enough to allow them to stay alive through a hypothetical Montana winter. As you might imagine, this is a rather high calorie lifestyle. Building log cabins, cooking from scratch, taking care of animals, chopping and collecting hay, and building fences really takes the pounds off. They say at one point during the proceedings that the men of the three families are all down to between 160 and 180 pounds -- the expected range of male weight back in 1883 according to U.S. Army records. I haven't weighed that little since I was about 15 years old. It kind of makes one think that the human metabolism is really made to be out there hunting or gathering. We're better off getting up at dawn to plow the back 40, that driving to work to sit in a cubicle all day.
So where does this leave me? I'm willing to be philosophical. There's been a lot to settle this summer... what with Fiancee S. moving in, our wedding being planned, etc. I wish I had a summer more like Frontier House than the Segway, but effort can only be seriously applied in so many directions at once for me. Plus, my body is still here. I can always start tomorrow... which ever tomorrow that proves to be.
on 2003-09-10 at 6:11 a.m.
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